POLICE involved in the case of a missing 18-year-old, later found dead, have been exonerated of any wrongdoing – although one inspector’s actions have been called into question.

Adam Taylor, 18, was found dead on the banks of the River Roach, Great Wakering, on March 21 last year – eight weeks after he was last seen alive on January 23.

His mum Clare Taylor, 42, launched a campaign after he went missing and co-ordinatied the search in February 2018, backed by the Echo.

However, it wasn’t until February 22 Essex Police finally issued a missing person’s appeal.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct launched a probe into the police’s handling of the inquiry in the aftermath.

A spokesman said: “We found no indication any officer or staff member behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence.

“However, we were of the opinion the performance of one inspector, who had not regraded the incident after the first mention that the young man had not used his debit card for some time, may be unsatisfactory.

“Our investigation also highlighted some discrepancies between Essex Police missing person procedure and the College of Policing’s Approved Professional Practice (APP) regarding the definition of a missing person.

“We recommended the force update its procedure to accurately reflect the APP and remove any ambiguity in what constitutes a missing person.” The force has advised the inspector would receive management action, in the form of a debrief from a line manager. The probe found Adam was initially graded as a “no-risk” missing person in January before being regraded as a medium risk on February 21 after officers found he hadn’t used his debit card or made contact with his family.

Police then took a number of actions, including checking calls to his mobile number, contacting his friends to ask if they’d seen him, speaking to social workers and the man’s family, and put appeals on social media. They also carried out various checks on police records, finances, CCTV, college, hospitals, popular homelessness areas and homelessness charities. Eighteen sightings of Adam were recorded, but deemed unreliable.

Adam was eventually found. His cause of death was unascertainable, but he appeared to have died several weeks earlier.